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Strategic Technologies for the CGIAR in 2010

The question is no longer whether a bear can dance, but how well the bear dances. This is the bottom line message to Cloud Computing and Software as a Service, one of the top technologies we expect see widely used in the CGIAR in 2010.
The point is: “corporate” IT providers can no longer ignore the fact that Cloud Computing and Software-as-a-Service are here, and are here to stay.They provide a solid, usable, reliable, affordable alternative to self-hosted costly infrastructure. The important thing is choosing the right provider. But that’s just part of doing business well.

I said it before: the CGIAR can be proud of a very efficient and effective IT infrastructure, even despite the many challenges our over 100 offices face in terms of local infrastructure, costs… I believe the reason we have an IT infrastructure to be proud of is because we keep our eyes open to innovation (yes, we use Cloud Computing and Software-as-a-Service!), we are ready to make adjustments when needed, we have an active community of IT managers who learn from each other.

One of our good practices is to look at the IT trends worldwide and discuss which one of these we should adopt.

Towards the end of 2008, I initiated a process to inform the annual CGIAR IT meeting with an analysis of potential technologies for the year ahead in response to five questions I asked myself:

  • How much does the technology improve the effectiveness of a center’s operation and/or the CGIAR’s mission?
  • Will adopting the technology significantly reduce costs over time?
  • Can the technology be implemented in a reasonable timeframe with available resources?
  • Will the technology improve end users’ productivity and/or satisfaction?
  • Can the technology be implemented and sustained on a minimal budget?

The result of the exercise was a paper that stimulated useful discussion at the meeting at ICRISAT-Hyderabad in 2008: “Strategic Technologies for the CGIAR in 2009”.

This year, we repeated the same process. The result, our Top 10 Technologies for the CGIAR centers in 2010.

When comparing the results of the two years, it is interesting to note that 7 of the 10 technologies of 2009 are still part of the Top 10 for 2010 (in different orders).

Comparison of the Top 10 Strategic Technologies for CGIAR for 2009 and 2010

For the 2010 report, we added another question to the analysis:

  • What is our concrete experience with the technology so far?

Several of the technologies that ranked in the Top 10 for 2009 have been implemented, to one extent or another, and several more are “in the pipeline” for implementation. Thus, we have another important measure of a technology: whether we actually do something with it.

Download full report:  Strategic Technologies for the CGIAR in 2010

If you want to learn more about the Top 10 Strategic Technologies for the CGIAR in 2010, keep an eye on the Technical blog series, sister of our Social Media series, which we will launch this month. We hope to provide an overview of these technologies and keep an eye on how the CGIAR centers, individually and collectively, are adopting new technologies and practices to support our critical mission with reasonable cost-effectiveness.

PS: Five of the technologies that we have in our Top 10, feature in the Gartner’s group “Top 10 technologies for 2010:

– Cloud Computing
– Virtualization
– Social Software
– Security- Activity Monitoring (Periodic Security scans/websense)
– Mobile Applications (is similar to our Blackberry, ActiveSync, iPhone item)

Photo Source: channelpro.co.uk